About

Hi, I'm Gabriel! 👋

I am a young web developer (in high school) who is devoted to building something new with code, pushing my limits, and making a name for myself in this rapidly growing field. Some quick facts:

  • Full Name: Gabriel Romualdo
  • Occupation: Full-Stack Web Developer, High School Student

On This Site

  • Home: where everything starts
  • Blog: I write articles about code
  • Code: a few projects I've built
  • Résumé: what I've done and what I offer

Follow and Contact Me

  • @xtrp on GitHub → most of my projects are open-sourced here
  • @xtrp on DEV → I re-post here and interact with the community
  • xtrp@xtrp.io → for direct contact (shoot me an email!)

Who Am I?

I've been programming for over 5 years now, mainly working on building scalable sites with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. I've built numerous sites, several Chrome Extensions, a few desktop applications, and many more projects, most of which can be found on my GitHub profile. I'm a frequent open source contributor as well, and have completed the Hacktoberfest 2019 and Hacktoberfest 2020 challenges.

I also write regularly on my blog, with a mix of interesting posts and tutorials too. My posts currently have over 175K+ views with hundreds of thousands of readers.

Apart from coding, my other interests include teaching, music, and journalism. I also attend high school, so of course that is a big part of my life at the moment.

You can read more about my story at the My Story Section of this page.

I Specialize In

  • Modern JavaScript and ES6
  • SASS and Modern CSS with Flexbox and Grid
  • MERN Stack Development
  • Python (2 and 3)
  • Electron

I am proficient with:

  • GitHub Pages and Jekyll
  • Next.js
  • PHP
  • Chrome Extension Development
  • Firebase

You can see more detailed and up-to-date information about my skillset on my resume.

Projects

  • Jupiter: an Monte-Carlo based AI to play 2048 (Website, GitHub)
  • Coronavirus Special Edition: special edition package for my school newspaper, got second place in National Scholastic Press Association Best of Show Award (Website)
  • Coronavirus Live Monitor: Site with live news, data, and latest updates about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak (Website, GitHub)

You can find more projects at:

  • The Projects Page → a list of my projects with descriptions and relevant links
  • My GitHub Profile → most of my projects are open sourced here, although some are private

Work with Me

If you'd like to work with me on a project or are looking for a dedicated open source contributor, contact me through my email (xtrp@xtrp.io). I usually respond within 24–48 hours.

Articles on My Blog

I've been writing on my blog for quite a while now, and I primarily write educational articles about various programming technologies, languages, and features. I also occasionally write articles about a recent project I've built or an interesting programming book I've read.

I have hundreds of thousands of readers on my blog, and try to post consistently several times per month. I've written about the history of the Internet, a book review on a 20-year old book on web design, and a tutorial on building a flipping card animation with plain CSS.

Here are a few notable articles of mine:

Read more articles on my blog: xtrp.io/blog/.

My Story

If you've read this far in my about page, then thank you! You've probably already read about my accomplishments with building websites and writing articles on my blog and such, but one thing to note: behind those achievements, there was a long story of learning, struggling, tinkering, and figuring things out for me that led me to where I am today.

And so, if you're interested, here is my story.

2014 — Python

2014 was the year I started coding. My first language was Python. I was around nine years old, and I picked up the fundamentals of Python pretty quickly. I built a few simple projects, and learned some interesting libraries such as Turtle Graphics for really simply graphics and drawing, and Tkinter for more advanced GUIs with components like buttons and text inputs.

2015–2017: Web Development

In 2015, I moved on from Python to web development. I started off with the basics of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, taking an excellent online course about responsive web design and development. I learned jQuery, and simple PHP. At the time, I didn't have domain, so I used GitHub Pages instead, with the domain xtrp.github.io. GitHub Pages didn't support backend languages like PHP or Node.js, but it did support Jekyll, a static-site generator written with Ruby.

I tinkered with various Jekyll themes to build by first public website at xtrp.github.io, with a blog and a few of my projects. My first blog post was written in the beginning of 2018 (although all blog posts from before September 2019 have been removed). 2018 was the year I really started building sites and projects myself, as I had learned the basics and fundamentals of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

One of my first real useful sites was Skyewire, which allows users to share text instantly via a quick pin number. In the span of a few months, I went on to build a site for customizing and editing Hex and RGB values, called Hex RGB Creator, a Jekyll Theme called Cobalt, and HTML 5 Rocket, a collection of free, CC0 licensed HTML5 site templates.

2018: Things are Getting Real

In the Summer of 2018, I started to build more complex websites and web apps. I built a to-do list web app called Blaze, a JavaScript practicing website called InstCode, and a political news aggregator and politician indexer called Capitol Net. I would consider Capitol Net to be my first major glimpse into the experience of building a complex web app.

During the Winter of 2018/2019, I built quite a few more complex sites and programs. I built a Python-based static site generator called Breeze, and an AI to play the popular game 2048, called Jupiter, among several others.

2019: Writing Programming Articles on xtrp.io

In the Summer of 2019, I started posting to my current site at xtrp.io, and built that site pretty quickly. The site was originally built in Jekyll, and was very basic with a list of blog posts, an about page, and a list of projects.

Later that Summer, I built a web app for my school's Student Council, which allows students to submit ideas and vote on them to make a real impact on the school. I called the web app Your Voice, Your Vote.

As school started in September, I started working on an all-new, updated version of my personal website at xtrp.io, written now in PHP, with a new design, a résumé page, and MVC architecture. Building this new site with PHP allowed me to learn about the intricacies of MVC, and I learned a lot about building routing systems, controllers, databases, and templating pages while building the site.

I was mostly done with the site by late September, which is when I started posting on it. I decided to start afresh with a new blog on the new site, and with that new start, I also started reposting my blog posts here on the DEV Community. My posts on DEV and on my website surprisingly got quite a few views, likes, and shares, and I was amazed.

I continued to post every week for several months, focusing on writing high-quality content that developers and readers were interested in.

I participated in Hacktoberfest 2019, and got more involved in open source projects and collaborating with other developers.

In November, I worked with popular programming YouTuber RealToughCandy (~40K subscribers) to write example solutions for problems in her Real-World JavaScript Interview Questions GitHub repository.

2020

In January 2020, I released Daily Developer Jokes, a bot that posts developer-based jokes and humor every day at 8:00 AM (ET). This helped cement my knowledge of Python, cronjobs, and DevOps in terms of keeping a program running continuously for several months on end.

In March 2020, I released Coronavirus Live Monitor, a site with latest news, data, and health information about the COVID-19 pandemic. The site did very well after garnering several thousand views from Hacker News.

In April 2020, I worked with the school newspaper at my school to build a special edition package showcasing articles and infographics about the COVID-19 pandemic. I worked to build a beautiful responsive site with a fast load time despite being resource-heavy. I also got some exposure to working with Wordpress in integrating the site with the school newspapers' existing Wordpress-based site. The special edition was viewed by thousands of students, and got second place in National Scholastic Press Association Best of Show Award (Spring 2020, for News/Feature Package).

From May 2020 to November 2020, I worked on Spirited Thanks, a project to spread over two million messages of gratitude to health workers across the globe. I learned more about working with a team on large code-bases based on the MERN stack. I worked on building numerous components for the site including the navigation bar and submission form, and picked up a number of skills in React.js and Next.js in the process. I was one of the top frontend developers in the team.

In June and July 2020, I built my first ever Discord bot called VC Notifier, which allowed users to be notified when their friends join a voice channel on Discord. This bot proved very useful for me, and allowed my group of friends to more easily find times to talk and connect with each other using Discord. A month after building this Discord bot, I wrote an educational article about creating Discord bots in JavaScript, with code for an example bot that could automatically solve given mathematical expressions and equations.

Throughout the rest of the summer of 2020, I worked on JSON Password Manager, a secure password manager desktop app built for developers. I learned more about encrypting data with JavaScript and Node.js, and worked with Electron.js to power the Desktop app.

In September, I worked on Jupiter, a Monte-Carlo based AI to beat 2048. This project was one of my first AI projects, and I learned quite a bit about AI and Machine Learning in the process of building it. I wrote an article detailing the algorithm I used to build the AI, which was read by thousands of developers and received overwhelmingly positive feedback. In October, I wrote an article analyzing Jupiter's performance and speed, and detailed several improvements that could be made to the AI algorithm and implementation.

In September and October, I also worked on a program to fix a common problem in archived NY Times articles. I noticed hundreds of occurrences of the error, including several occurrences on famous articles, including Vietnam Archive: Pentagon Study Traces 3 Decades of Growing U. S. Involvement, the first article in the release of the Pentagon Papers. My program was able to quickly fix these errors with ease. I am currently liaising with an archivist at the Times to potentially use this program to help fix this problem on archived NY Times articles.

What's Next?

If you've read this long and through the timeline of my journey with code, thank you.

One last thing to mention is that, in my eyes, while it's great to look back at the past and think about all I've done in the past few years, I would like to focus my energy on working towards the future, and thinking about what I can do now in the present.

The truth is, there is so much to be done, and this is just the beginning.

As I've written in previous iterations of this page: I am young, and I have a lot to learn, a lot to build, and hopefully, a lot to achieve in the near future.

— Gabriel Romualdo, November 8, 2020